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How to Make The Most of Working From Home

 March 17, 2020

By  Danielle Shulman

Whether you are excited to work from home or trying to wrap your head around how you will remain productive and focused, we have expert tips from our team (who work remotely on a regular basis).

 

Find a Dedicated Space

If you have a home office, now is the time to make sure it is set up and clear of clutter. You need a space big enough for your computer, taking notes, and any other equipment vital to your day-to-day responsibilities. Your office should be well-lit and free of distractions. 

 

If you don’t have a dedicated office space, find the quietest room of your house and set up a card table. While you may be tempted to plop down on the couch, turn on The Price is Right or your favorite Netflix series, don’t. Those distractions will pull you in and you will never be an efficient worker.

 

Create a Communications Guide

If you have a set schedule for daily, weekly, and monthly meetings, you probably already have conferencing solutions in place. However, for the day-to-day updates, make sure the lines of communication are strong among your teammates. Employees should have their personal phones available for important calls as well as the ability to answer emails quickly. Since you cannot walk over to someone’s desk to speak with them when needed, establish check-in times or look for messaging systems like Google Hangouts. The sooner you set expectations, the easier it is to communicate with your team.

 

Stick With a Schedule

Keep your normal routine. If you spend the first 20 minutes answering emails, start there. Create task lists and utilize file sharing and project management software to organize your projects and make collaboration much easier.

Your company has likely provided you with video conferencing, or you have a conference call number. We highly recommend taking advantage of this for all of your important client and team meetings. When needed, share screens while presenting or collaborating. If your team has something visual to focus on, they are more likely to pay attention and less likely to talk over one another. Should your company not have any of these services, scroll down for a list of some conferencing solutions offering free or enhanced services.

Get Dressed, Get Ready

You don’t need to find an office-worthy outfit, or do your hair like you would if you were leaving the house. However, freshening up in the morning and changing, even if it is into comfy clothes, will help you wake up with a little more pep. If you plan a video call with clients, remember they can see you. Luckily, you need to look presentable only from the waist up. You can wear your button-up shirt with your PJ bottoms. But the point is, you will feel less inclined to lounge around if you are out of your jammies.

 

Upgrade Your Internet

The more equipment you have connecting to your home internet, the more speed you may need. Many internet providers are reducing and even eliminating the cost for upgraded speed. You can also look into a mesh router, like Google Nest. These systems both extend coverage throughout your entire house, as well as help ease the overflow of all your devices connecting to one point. If your home is larger than 2,000 square feet, we recommend finding a system with at least two routers. This way, if you need to work somewhere like the basement or a space that is far away from the main router, you are less likely to lose service strength.

 

Take small breaks to socialize (via the internet)

Those water cooler breaks are what some of us live for throughout the workday. Because we are practicing social distancing, hop on a video call with a friend. iPhones and Galaxy phones have video call features, as do several social apps like Facebook and WhatsApp. Having some sort of “connection” with your coworkers can help avoid feeling isolated.

 

Here are some resources and tools that are offering free video conferencing, productivity tools, or enhanced services during this time.

Zoom Video (Conferencing and Screen Sharing)

Google Hangouts (messaging and video conferencing)

AT&T (internet & wireless)

Basecamp (project management)

 

Keep the kids busy with these great e-learning apps, fun videos, and links for crafts.

ABC Mouse (e-learning)

PBS Kids (videos, books, games)

Free Kids Crafts (downloadable crafts)

Frozen 2 (now on Disney+) Sorry you will have to hear “Into the Unknown” more times than you ever want to, but it will keep the little ones busy.

 

Working from home does not have to be an overwhelming experience. A strong plan with the right tools will help keep your company organized and productive. Remember to stick to your daily schedule, keep the kids busy, and change into your “work” jammies for a fresh feeling.

 

Stay Informed!